Nine Westbrook school buses have been temporarily pulled from the road because of expired inspection stickers.

Dean Flanagin, director of operations at the Westbrook School Department, said six regular route buses and three spare buses were overdue on their inspection stickers. School buses are required to be inspected every six months. Someone called the Maine State Police to alert them to an expired inspection sticker on a Westbrook bus, and the department voluntarily removed the overdue buses from service Tuesday when it learned of the mistake.

“There was some oversight, as well as some misunderstanding about some due dates,” Superintendent Peter Lancia said.

Flanagin said drivers complete a basic inspection on their buses every day. Those checks cover lights, brakes and tires, but not inspection stickers. Asked whether any driver noticed an expired sticker and alerted the school department, Flanagin said no.

The department has now set up a database and calendar to avoid repeating this error.

“Each month at the beginning of the month, we can get a reminder of the buses that are due for inspection that month,” Flanagin said.

The school department owns 23 buses, Flanagin said. With more than a third of its buses parked for the day, Westbrook turned to other districts – Portland, South Portland, Scarborough and Windham – for substitutes.

“The area departments were very gracious and reached out to us and loaned us some buses,” Flanagin said.

The buses with expired stickers were inspected Tuesday, and the superintendent did not anticipate any violations or maintenance problems that would prevent them from returning to the road. Flanagin said he expected all the buses to return to the fleet within 48 hours.

As a precaution, Lancia said he asked the Maine State Police to inspect the rest of the bus fleet Wednesday as well.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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